8B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - February 16, 2004 m
it " ..1, 1
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Headline illustration by
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By Gennaro Filice and Jim Weber Daily Sports Editors
At the end of the weekend, Montoya receives notes and
a DVD from Matwijiw that critiques Montoya's play.
"He'll go over the video with my notes and replay situa-
tions, so that he understands exactly what I was talking
about, what I was seeing, what he could have done dif-
ferently, and he changes it," Matwijiw said. "And that's
very important at this point - at this level - because,
as successful as he's been, he still has room for improve-
ment. And guys that have played years in the National
Hockey Legue still have room for lImprovement.""
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Montoya says that he played "everything" growing
up, including basketball, soccer and football. In fact,
he almost quit hockey to play football during his
freshman year of high school; tight end was his
position of choice.
Said Matwijiw: "For a big guy, a guy his size (6-
foot-2, 185 pounds), he's very athletic."
- Dtrif njti on-
Very confident in his quickness, Montoya regularly
plays out in the front of the crease. The 19-year-old
sophomore seems to enjoy the physical aspect of the
game and isn't afraid to poke, strike and even cross-
check any opponent that invades his territory.
"He's very aggressive," goalie coach Stan Matwijiw
said. "He's out in the shooter's face - he doesn't give
them much to shoot at."
Opponents constantly dump the puck deep into the
Michigan zone, but Montoya deters possible attacks by
vacating the goal and swiftly
retrieving the puck. He has a
knack of catching teams offhand
during line changes by flipping
the puck up to
"It's just such an advantage to
our overall game scheme in
how honest he keeps other
teams - especially on line
changes - because
they know if they
make a bad line
change, he's moving
the puck up and we're
going in on a 2-on-o,"
Matwijiw said. "How
many goalies do you see do
that? That's a huge advantage to our
defensemen, knowing that they've
got a guy that's as skilled as he is
CURTIS HILLER/Daily back there playing the puck."
The Glenview, Ill., native started skating at the age of
three. Growing up, Montoya always played in the
older age groups. Michigan did not have a goalie lined
up for the 2002-03 year, so he fast-tracked his way
through high school in three years and started for the
Wolverines as a 17-year-old freshman.
Said Matwijiw: "He looks for perfection in his game."
yC+*o r f e ce
Following most games in which Montoya excels,
other Wolverines are asked to comment on their
goalie's performance. Their response is programmed,
just as that by Matwijiw: "That's Al. He gives us a
chance to win every time we hit the ice." Montoya
says that he loves being the last line of defense.
"He's a leader by example. Every night our team
knows that we're going to get good goaltending.
That's a lot to say for a goalie, when his team is
never unsure of their goaltending," Matwijiw said.
=ke A Warfe5=E
Montoya never loses the puck ... or anyone on the
opposing team. Montoya describes ice awareness simply:
"Say (the opponents) are coming down on me in a 2-on-
1. The guy without the puck on the offensive team is
busting down the lane and going backdoor. I know that
that guy's there and I know what kind of stick he's got
and where he's going to put it before he does."
Said Matwijiw: "Ice awareness is knowing where every-
thing is on the ice. He's never surprised. He knows where
everything is at and he's always one step ahead of the
game, and that's why he doesn't allow weak goals."
!, ieillJ.i ~PERIO D 4 i
2-1 h1ockrsmide *" "Becarful1iiv Mhaking
Goalie coach Stan Matwijiw
(Mah-twiv) is in his fifth
.. . -n.evn ,O "- hif n ...,.
" "loveside, great job
holding white ice, shot
" "2-lgloveside, again
great patience holding
your ice, bud. That's
" "Dump glove wrapped, did
Cooke call for 'Play it?' If so
'Play it' was the right play."
" "Dump gloveside, #8 calls
'Play it' which you do, but
make the safe play and use
the boards. You try and
make the direct pass which
" "GT (TIME) #4."
" "Dump fall short blocker-
side, smart play to bring it
back-behind goaflne and
4 " 7* A
" " *Note* - Al, our move-
" "What an ugly (expletive)
play, mani. Not much I could
say abotit that, Al. Brutal!!"
smart read, Al, shooter
was on his backhand, so
you play deeper playing
" "Face-off check."
cross-ice pass Al. Remem-
ber play K.I.S.S. Don't try
and do to much."